What Is a Bikini Wax? Here's Your Guide

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However you prefer to groom, having a general knowledge about waxing is an essential component of a well-rounded beauty education. Whether you're about to subject yourself to the waxing salon chair for the first time or simply hoping to choose the best type of wax for you, it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with the various styles and methods (along with the pros and cons) of this popular enterprise. So what is a bikini wax? Here's what you need to know.

Read on for what you should know before booking your waxing appointment.

What It Is

While every survey tells a slightly different story, it's estimated that over 80% of women ages 16 to 40 partake in some sort of pubic hair grooming. Among these, a strong case is to be made for ditching the razor and opting for wax. In addition to the near-constant upkeep required by shaving, there are razor bumps and ingrown hairs to consider. While anyone who tells you that waxing is painless is definitely lying, there's something to be said for the speed, precision, and end results of a bikini wax.

When choosing a wax style, it's important to know the various types of waxing. A traditional bikini wax removes the hair just inside the bikini line, typically both along the inner thigh and beneath the top of the panty line below the abdomen. By contrast, a “landing strip” style leaves a strip of hair on the pubic mound, and a Brazilian wax completely removes all hair. Variations like “diamond” and “heart” styles are exactly what they sound like. Many salons provide visual aids or verbal explanations to indicate how much hair they plan to remove, but it's always a good idea to be clear with your esthetician about exactly what you're looking for.

What to Expect

During a bikini wax session, the wax is applied directly to the skin and then rapidly peeled back to remove the hair. A bikini wax typically uses hot wax, which is best applied by a professional (versus at home) to avoid burning the skin. While hard wax, which is applied at room temperature, is often used on other parts of the body, it's not recommended for sensitive areas. Organic options are often available (depending on the salon) and typically use natural ingredients like honey, pinesap, or beeswax.

Ultimately, the key to a great bikini wax is finding someone you trust. If you don't have a personal recommendation from a friend, be sure to do a little homework. Check out the reviews on your prospective salon, and then call to ask questions beforehand. Opting for a bikini wax or other style is often part trend, part personal preference. By being honest with yourself (and the person wielding the wax strips), you'll be on your way to a clean look in no time.

What to Keep on Hand

Meow Meow Tweet Spot Treatment $25Shop

Use this all-natural, peppermint-infused treatment post-wax to sootheВ the skin and prevent bumps.

Sans Ceuticals Bio Active Body Exfoliant $38Shop

Exfoliate beforeВ your trip to the salon to prevent ingrown hairs and irritation.

French Girl Organics Lumiere Body Oil $64Shop

This product hydrates skin after waxing or shaving to prevent irritation thanks to its coconut oil ingredient.

Pai Comfrey and Calendula Calming Body Cream $40Shop

Use lotionsВ without excessive fragrance after waxing. Pai's Calming Body Cream is made for dry, sensitive skin.

Up next, keep reading for fourВ expert bikini wax tricksВ for longer-lasting results.